THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fishery managers are inviting the public to join them at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, for a virtual town hall to gather feedback ahead of the 2021-2022 coastal steelhead season. It marks the second meeting in a suite of public engagement opportunities this fall.
“As we look back on last season, it’s important to our team of fishery managers, research scientists and fisheries biologists that we chart a successful communication path with those interested in coastal steelhead,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW fish program director. “At the core of that is a commitment to transparent, open dialogue with the public as we consider the various needs.”
The Oct. 26 meeting will include discussion around stock assessment and creel monitoring results from the 2020-2021 season, preliminary forecasts for the 2021-22 season and some possible regulatory options for the 2021-2022 season.
Last season’s fishery restricted the use of bait and fishing from a boat, ultimately ending in an early closure to help increase the number of wild steelhead that return to the spawning grounds. Tribal governments took similar steps to help support coastal steelhead conservation and are expediting post-season analysis alongside WDFW to support earlier public engagement ahead of next season.
Since the last virtual coastal steelhead town hall in July 2021, WDFW appointed 12 members to its the newly formed Ad-Hoc Coastal Steelhead Advisory Group. The group will play a key role in implementing the coastal steelhead proviso aimed at producing watershed specific fishery plans as required by the Washington Legislature in the 2021-23 budget. The ad-hoc group will meet virtually beginning in 2022. To view the member list and find more information, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/csag.
WDFW continues to operate under its Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, which requires the department to prioritize the sustainability of wild coastal steelhead runs, by focusing on healthy levels of abundance, productivity, diversity and distribution.
For more information about the Oct. 26 town hall as well as prior and future coastal steelhead virtual town hall meetings, please visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/steelhead/coastal. The meeting will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meetings afterwards at their convenience.